Oklahoma Ink: An Uplifting Experience

by

When Publisher Pam and I drove into the circular driveway of the Harwelden Mansion in Tulsa, we were greeted by friendly members of the Tulsa Press Club and wowed by the mansion’s architecture. Built in 1926 by oilman Earl Palmer Harwell and his wife Mary, the place was absolutely beautiful. It was a great site for a fundraiser and author gathering.

Twenty different authors sampled fare from a variety of restaurants. (My personal favorite was the bow tie pasta from Carino’s.) By six o’clock, we were all in our places. I sat next to Robby McMurtry, a graphic novelist and artist whose recent book features Frank Eaton, better known as “Pistol Pete” — the man who was the inspiration for OSU’s college mascot. Robby entertained me with stories about his favorite comic books and talked enthusiastically with Pam about graphic novels. He also let me try on his cowboy hat.

At the end of the table sat Nathan Brown, winner of the 2009 Oklahoma Book Award for poetry. He and Karen Coody Cooper were deep in conversation about religion and spirituality. And on the other side of Nathan sat illustrator Mike Wimmer, tucked into an alcove with floor to ceiling windows and an amazing view of the Arkansas River. He was surrounded by beautiful books, including the one about Will Rogers, written by Frank Keating.

My new friend, Charles Martin, had a plum spot near the front entry. He sold most of his books about a “charismatic, troubled rock musician” involved in an end-of-the-world cult. I think his charismatic smile and hand-painted Converse high-tops helped his sales.

Two hours sped by, and soon we were all putting our books back into boxes and clearing off our tables. Then came one of my favorite moments of the evening when Mike lifted me and then Nathan in a show of strength and creative camaraderie.

What was my other favorite moment? Heading back to Pam’s brother’s restaurant, The Canebrake. Pure bliss.

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One Response to “Oklahoma Ink: An Uplifting Experience”

  1. aroundtheworldin365 Says:

    I loved reading your things. I know you had a personal blog Jana you were doing at some point, are you still doing that?

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